Jack/Tosh, rated R
the exposure challenge
spoilers: Captain Jack Harkness
Toshiko shakes when she comes, uncontrolled shivers that Jack can trace in the path of goose bumps up and down her spine. She fits neatly on top of him, hands gathered into fists on his chest, hair hanging down off a sweat-damp forehead.
"You wanted to stay," Tosh says, and Jack kisses the curve of her left ear. He doesn't really believe in this, talking right after. It leads people to say things they don't mean, or things they mean but weren't planning to say.
"Yes," he answers simply.
"I thought so," she answers, with a scientist's satisfaction. "We need you, you know."
Jack knows. The pull was still strong, of a soldier's kiss and songs he's never forgotten.
"I thought, maybe." She was terrified the first time that he touched her. He wasn't sure what he'd done to deserve that. "I thought maybe it was only men, you know." She hesitated, words held back on her mouth as he kissed her. "And I'm not.."
"I noticed," Jack said, resting his fingers on her face where her cheeks grew feverish.
The Hub is never quiet. Behind them Tosh's computer runs through her half-completed work, bleating between lines of code. Tosh turns her head towards it, and Jack grabs her back, violently, hands on her waist and pulling her down. "Don't you dare."
He pushes her wool skirt up her thighs, throws her panties on the desk, grunts when her fingers snap loose his suspenders and slide down into his trousers. It's six am, and Ianto will be in at any moment to put the kettle on.
They could be caught. In the act, with the door open and the sound of their moans carrying into the street. That's how she likes it.
There are habits that you don't lose. Jack sleeps lightly, like a nineteen year old too close to enemy lines, under a sky that is too bright for nighttime, when every sound could be a siren. He stirs when Toshiko's bare feet hit the ground, and the small cot bounces.
He hasn't felt the cold in ages, but he can sense it from the way her hands linger in the folds of the blanket. "Going?" he asks her, and she nods silently. Probably he's supposed to ask her to stay.
Probably she thinks he's someone else altogether. They all trust him, as much as they can, as much as Owen trusts anyone. The con man in him knows better than to be impressed. Trust is an easy thing. Easy to earn, and to throw away.
Underneath Tosh's warm skin are shifting, fragile bones. Sometimes he has to remind himself not to hold on too tight. Sometimes he imagines a bright, brittle snap, and she'll elbow him in the side, with laughter in her eyes.
"What are you thinking about?"
"Death," Jack answers, and her smile turns to a frown, one he'll kiss till it's gone.
When he closes his eyes, and sometimes when he doesn't, he hears wartime music. He catches himself humming "Something to Remember You By" under his breath, a song to which he's never known all the words.
"Toshiko, do you dance?" he asks her, and she looks up abruptly from her work. "Mrs. McKenna's Ballet School," she says. "Four years in a row."
Jack grins. "Sounds brilliant."
"It was dreadful. It hurt my ankles. And we had to wear these ghastly pink leotards."
She has a mediocre grasp of rhythm, but she's light as a feather on her feet. Jack turns out the lights, and they have no music, but she still does the twirls when she lifts her hands.
"You're a bit mad, Jack, you know that."
Jack smiles, and spins her closer. His hand closes over bare skin, and she doesn't talk above a whisper. Each of them say that, Owen, Ianto, Gwen. He doesn't mind as long as they do what they're told.
Toshiko follows instructions best of all. "Slower, darling," he whispers, when she's holding on, riding him, and she obeys.
They go hunting for Weevils above the surface of the city. A boring job, one someone's got to do. Tosh never looks bored, though. She kicks off her shoes and presses the gas pedal with bare toes, and her eyes are bright as they focus on the road.
She loves this. He knew that she would, and it's why he chose her. Her skin flushes from the surge of adrenaline, gun pressed to her side, hunting demons in the black Cardiff streets, in the rain and concrete.
"Do you think they can feel us?" she asks. "Coming?"
She and Ianto have had long conversations, about whether Weevils can sense things that people can't. It's an interesting discussion, theoretical. Jack doesn't care.
"If they could, don't you think they'd avoid getting caught?"
She rolls her eyes at his reflection in the rearview, and thinks that he doesn't see.
"Careful," he says, "or your face might freeze that way."
He promised to take care of her. He was ready to stay. Time is like water, and sometimes when you're pulled under there is no way to break the surface. Tosh rests her head on his chest, and asks what his real name is.
"Can't keep calling you Jack," she says.
"Why not?" he asks her, and she's got no answer.
He likes it. It's a good name, worn in by a good man. The first name that's brought him half-decent luck. He would have married her, and she would have made a good wife. Jack Harkness would have died the next day, during a routine training mission, and he would have found them some money. Money isn't that hard, not when you don't care what you do for it. Money, a house, curtains pulled shut during the day when he felt like memorising the taste between her thighs.
Toshiko probably knows how to sew and bake, as well as dance.
"My mum taught me how to knit," she says when he asks. "I can still only do scarves."
"That will do," he tells her.